Volunteer organizations, moral licensing and dysfunction

admin Sunday July 9, 2023

Having contributed to countless projects via volunteer organizations, I know that organizational dysfunction is―if not a rule―almost a norm, in particular in organizations with little funding, no staff and no management.

There are some obvious explanations for that, including volunteer burnout, but what is more surprising is the frequency and persistence of harassment. Jeroen Camps highlights an interesting scientifically studied phenomenon called moral licensing which may help explain that.

I am skeptical about the existence and importance of moral licensing, but if it affected everyone, very few of Kohlberg's stages of moral development would remain plausible.

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